PROVO, Utah – No. 4 BYU women’s volleyball advanced to the third Final Four in program history, sweeping No. 5 seed Texas (25-23, 25-23, 25-21) Saturday night in the Smith Fieldhouse.
“What an incredible environment here tonight,” BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. “I’m so proud of our team for staying the course the entire match.”
Senior Roni Jones-Perry tallied a match-high 25 kills on a .367 clip, including 11 in the second set alone, while also earning three digs and one ace. Junior Mary Lake recorded 17 digs and four assists while Lyndie Haddock-Eppich posted 43 assists and four digs.
“It was a total team effort tonight, but Roni was fabulous; she was so focused and full of energy,” Olmstead added. “Lyndie set a great match and was really composed and Mary played fantastic defense all night and really kept us in some rallies.”
Jones-Perry was named Most Valuable Player of the Regional and Haddock-Eppich, Lake and freshman Heather Gneiting were named to the All-Tournament team.
Click here to view the BYU Photo photo essay of the match and see below for links to BYU's press conference comments and box score of the match.
In front of 5,326 fans, the second-largest home crowd in program history, Texas (23-5) went on an early lead in the first set at 9-5, but BYU (31-1) fought its way back to within one point at 13-12. The two teams battled back and forth until a block by Haddock-Eppich and Gnieting put the Cougars ahead, 21-20. The Cougars maintained the lead culminating in a kill from sophomore Kennedy Eschenberg to finish the set, 25-23.
In the second set, Jones-Perry tallied four straight kills to give the Cougars a 4-3 advantage. Texas rallied from behind, tying the game at 12-12 after scoring three-straight points. BYU tried to pull away after a block by freshman Madelyn Robinson and Eschenberg gave BYU a two-point lead at 17-15, but the Longhorns fought back to tie the score at 20-all. But BYU took control off back-to-back kills from Jones-Perry to put BYU at match point. Texas tacked on three more points, but another kill from Jones-Perry ended the set at 25-23.
The third set again was close throughout the frame. Texas pulled ahead behind a 4-1 run to make the score 15-12, but a kill from senior Lacy Haddock followed by a block from Haddock and Eschenberg again brought the Cougars within one at 15-14. Back-to-back kills from Jones-Perry and Haddock put BYU ahead 23-21, forcing Texas to take a timeout. But the Cougars maintained the lead, finishing off the match two more Jones-Perry kills as BYU won the third set, 25-23.
BYU advances to the NCAA National Championships and will next take the court on Thursday, Dec. 13, at 6 p.m. CT at the Target Center in Minneapolis. The Cougars will play the No. 1 Stanford. BYU defeated Stanford earlier this year in a 3-2 match in Provo for the Cardinal's only loss this season.
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